Ask Chris: What’s L.A.’s Busiest Traffic Day of the Year?

Plus, the truth about hidden ponds in Hancock Park and how you can get your hair cut at the oldest barber shop in town

What’s the busiest traffic day of the year in Los Angeles?

Eight of the 10 busiest freeways in the state are in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Congestion on the Santa Ana Freeway alone is responsible for almost 10 million hours of lost time every year. While the Thursday before Christmas week is the busiest for most L.A. freeways, none is worse than Interstate 5. The date changes every year, but December 16 was the most congested day of 2021. Remember to always give thanks on the fourth Thursday of November, as Thanksgiving is traditionally the emptiest day of the year on L.A. freeways.

Q: Is there a block in Hancock Park that has a pond behind the homes?

A: There are plenty of cement ponds in the ritzy Brookside neighborhood, but it’s named for the Arroyo de los Jardines, a stream that has trickled south from a natural underground spring near John Burroughs Middle School since time immemorial. During the great flood of 1938, the water rose 11 feet and nearly destroyed magician Floyd Thayer’s theater and showroom on Longwood Avenue. “We played in the stream as kids, and there were ducks and crawdads. We’d send little boats down the water,” says Erika Larsen, whose family has owned the Thayer property since 1942. “It’s perennially damp. My brother recently found magic props buried in the mud.”

Q: What’s the oldest barbershop in L.A.?

A: Seven of the 10 oldest barbershops are at private clubs, with the license at the California Club downtown dating to 1943. Lolo’s on Catalina Island, which opened in 1964, has the earliest public license in L.A. County, and, according to the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, Midway Barber in Leimert Park has the oldest active license in the city. “I cut Mike Tyson’s hair,” says owner Bernie Wilkins, who opened his shop in 1965. “I cut Maury Wills’s hair. I keep it up pretty good.”

Chris’s Pick

Living the Game:
Super Nintendo Comes To Universal

More than 40 years after everyone’s favorite Italian plumber first lit up screens in Donkey Kong, Super Nintendo World will open at Universal Studios Hollywood on February 17. The land’s single ride has double-stacked buggies based on the Mario Kart franchise, where drivers don goggles to see a universe of talking mushrooms, floating coins, and piranha plants floating around them. Maybe they’ll even catch the ghosts that once haunted historic Stage 28, which was demolished to build the new area. Classics like The Phantom of the Opera and Dracula were filmed on this site, but today video games are more profitable than the movie and sports industries combined. So goodbye, classics; hello, joysticks.

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